What Is a Fireplace Damper and How Does It Work?
A fireplace damper is a device which is used to regulate the flow of air in a flue system which carries combustion gases away from a fuel-burning appliance, such as a furnace or stove. It helps prevent heated air from escaping out of the flue pipe when the appliance functions, aiding in efficiency and safety. Dampers come in many different sizes and shapes depending on their purpose, but all have some basic features in common — an airflow control mechanism and a seal or latch to close off the chimney when it’s not being used.
Firstly, the airflow control mechanism of the damper works by manipulating either side of an adjustable flap which has been installed into the bottom or top of the chimney flue pipe. This allows operators to adjust how much air they let through — more open equals a larger quantity of air; pivotally closed means less air will be allowed in.
The second component of most dampers is usually its seal or latch, commonly located at either side or above/below the adjustable flap portion. When it’s activated, this part securely closes off any access points within the flue where outside air may sneak in. The closure helps prevent significant heat loss while also containing exhaust fumes safely within your home rather than dispersing them into the atmosphere outside.
Now that you’re equipped with an understanding of what exactly a fireplace damper does, it’s all about implementation! Have your chosen professional installer fit one for you today for improved safety standards and greater efficiency at fireside hour!
Understanding When To Close Your Fireplace Damper
A fireplace damper is a metallic flap, usually located at the base or on top of the chimney, that helps you control the amount of air coming into and out of your heating appliance. Its primary purpose is to keep cold air from entering your home. Knowing when it’s appropriate to open and close the damper can help you save energy while keeping your home efficient and comfortable.
When you are burning a fire in your fireplace, it’s important to leave the damper open so that smoke can escape up the flue and out of your house. With an open damper, hot air from inside the home escapes up through the chimney as well, so prior to lighting a fire it’s necessary that all windows and doors be closed to trap in as much heat as possible. Otherwise, this will cause warm interior air to leak outdoors during a chilly evening spent in front of roaring flames. After burning has finished, make sure that you close your damper—otherwise, drafts may come back down through your chimney causing cold outside air to enter your living space even when no fire is burning!
Maintaining awareness of when to close or open your damper will also make sure that dangerous gases such carbon monoxide never have the chance to enter into your living area. Proper ventilation allows these hazardous materials—which result from combustion processes—to safely dissipate outdoors.
So before enjoying a cozy night by an outdoor fireplace take time understand when best use its associated damper properly! It’s fun and easy way ensure safety during winter months while making sure even heat stays inside!
Preparing To Close the Fireplace Damper
As the cold weather approaches, it’s time to prepare your fireplace for the season. One of the most important tasks is to close the fireplace damper properly in order to prevent heat from escaping up and out of your home, and keep cold air from entering. By taking a few precautions before you close off the fireplace, you can make sure the cold winter months are more comfortable.
One of the most important steps when preparing to close your fireplace damper is to inspect it for any potential damage or obstructions that might affect its function. Start by checking inside the firebox of your unit – look for any signs of faulty or missing mortar that can cause smoke leakage or drafts. Also inspect the opening at the top of your firebox as well as anywhere you’ve noticed smoke coming through recently; repair any sealants that may have deteriorated over time if necessary. Doing an inspection ahead of time will help ensure that your fireplace operates safely and efficiently throughout the colder months.
Next, remove any ash buildup around and under your grate prior to closing your damper. This will make it easier to open again later on in winter while also keeping soot from entering your house again when opening it up later on down the road – accumulated ash can block airflow both ways! In addition, make sure any obstacles such as furniture or rugs that may be blocking access to either side of your firebox are cleared away in preparation for use; this will significantly reduce risk when working around flames during future sessions.
Once everything has been checked and cleaned up around your fireplace, you’re ready to close up shop! Before shutting off airflow completely with a tight seal, prop or leave open a small amount (no more than 1 inch) at first – doing this allows smoke and gasses out without letting too much precious heat escape right away in addition to providing fresh oxygen which is essential for proper operation without dangerous buildup inside burning logs. Then take two flat screwsdrivers (one per side) placed parallel on either side near where dampers converge each other and lap them together like bookends creating additional leverage required for tighter closing later on; adjust until desired tightness is achieved before releasing tools altogether with hands free afterwards! Finally turn handle/lever used located at bottom part from ‘open’ position towards ‘closed’ state until fully shut – enjoy now peaceful environment free from drafts entering home during wintry outside conditions!
Step-by-Step Guide to Closing a Fireplace Damper
1. Safety First:
Before closing a fireplace damper, be sure to wear safety gear such as protective eyewear and gloves. This will help protect against any errant sparks and ensure that you don’t get burned during this process. Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of debris and other combustible materials as well.
2. Locate the Damper:
The damper is typically located inside the firebox above the opening of the chimney flue, and can be either manual or automatic. A manual damper will require you to pull on a chain connected to an interior door, while an automatic damper requires you to rotate a knob near the outside edge of your firebox. Once you’ve identified which type of damper your fireplace utilizes, proceed with caution to open it fully.
3. Open Fully:
To open the damper fully, carefully pull on the chain for manual dampers or rotate the knob for automatic ones until it’s completely open so that you can close it effectively later on down your process.
4. Clean It Out:
It’s important to remove any built-up ash, soot or creosote from within your closed off flue before continuing with this procedure (NOTE: If build-up is too thick then consult professionals). Using a brush with stiff bristles, scrape away any dirty materials you find accumulating in there until everything looks clean and free of blockages that could interfere with normal airflow through your flue system while burning logs during winter time operation etc..
5. Close Damper Tightly:
Once everything has been cleared out and readied for closure, insert one hand into your firebox and turn/pull firmly against the chain/knob so as not to leave any space open between its two points – this will create an airtight seal when closed properly – remember; test it afterwards by inserting something slender into gap between those two points . . . if nothing passes than all went well!
6 Test It Before Leaving:
Once you feel satisfied with sealing everything off nicely just run a quick test by kindling small pieces of dry wood in front of fireplace (it should light right up no problem) –if successful job is complete! All that´s left now is follow up maintenance checks every once in awhile during spring/summer months when not using logs regularly whilst opening up again come autumn season arrival–that way nothing builds up too much making closure more difficult over time 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions About Closing a Fireplace Damper
Q: What exactly is a fireplace damper?
A: Fireplace dampers are metal devices located in the flue of a chimney that prevents heat from escaping your home when the chimney is not in use. It also helps to prevent outside air, odors, and other contaminants from entering your home through the chimney. The most common type of damper is one that opens and closes manually—usually by means of a chain or handle. Some dampers have high tech features such as remotely operated systems and easy-to clean designs which help ensure they remain functional in top condition.
Q: How do I close a fireplace damper?
A: Closing your damper is an important part of safety maintenance for those who tend to their fireplaces regularly. Depending on design, it will either lift up with a lever or chain, slide open, or pivot open with most models having no difficulty closing after opening it correctly. To close it securely make sure you lock the handle and eradicate any remaining embers within your fireplace area before you shut off the draft in order to avoid dangerous situations.
Q: Exactly when should I close my fireplace damper?
A: If you have burning fires than you should be sure to keep the damper closed unless refueling the fire again or checking ashes; this ensures all unwanted air does not seep into your home. You should also take care that when there isn’t an active fire smoldering in the chimney dampers must be fully empowered for safety reasons as well as cost efficiency concerns regarding heating/cooling bills (keeping warm air contained).
Q: What should I look out for during regular inspections of my fireplace damper?
A: As mentioned above, fires must always occur with closed dampers while ensuring they open at least 10 minutes prior to lighting them back up again–this lets any heated gasses escape first so there isn’t sudden pressure build-up if someone turned on their furnace mistakenly while there’s an ongoing flame behind it walled-off inside chimney vents. During regular checks make sure to clear away leaves and other debris clogging up flues making points of passage tight sufficient enough to contain warmth like they’re supposed to while being free enough at same time able to easily let tender smoke out (not just sparks!).
Q: What happens if I don’t use my fireplace damper correctly?
A: Failing to follow proper closure procedures can result in a roaring blaze exploding from within; flying embers can potentially ignite dangerously combustible items around and even sparks emitting outwards that might set fire unto unintended targets like curtains etc… In addition faulty closure techniques offer little protection against carbon monoxide smells passing through due lack thereof necessary insulation properties leaving people inside vulnerable danger unseen yet present nonetheless (which would occur without knowledge). Additionally heating/cooling bills may increase exponentially over time if draughts aren’t sealed properly allowing external elements come inside stealing precious energy stored indoors!
Top 5 Facts about Closing a Fireplace Damper
1. A closed damper helps to reduce heat loss: Keeping your fireplace damper closed throughout the year will significantly reduce the amount of heated air from leaking out and creating a drafty home. This can result in savings on your energy bills and provides additional warmth to the area around your chimney, making it a top priority when looking to conserve energy.
2. It prevents debris entry: An open damper allows birds, small animals, leaves, sticks and other debris to enter the chimney or flue. Closing the damper can prevent any unwanted guests from entering your home through an accessible route. Additionally, blocking an open flue can help keep critters out of walls and other areas of the house where they might otherwise find easy access from a faulty chimney.
3. It stops bad odours: The stench of smoke or pest control chemicals emanating from an open fireplace can be extremely powerful upon entering a room or even outside while enjoying fresh air outdoors! Closing the fireplace damper while not using it traps these smells inside and keeps them away from being noticeable—which is beneficial for both indoor comfort as well as outdoor neighbors!
4. It helps restrict airflow: While some may wish that their solid fuel fireplaces delivered larger amounts of airflow, closing off the damper when finished burning decreases the risk of leaving too much heat out into unoccupied rooms over time due to constant burning drafts—ensuring that you receive only the most preferred levels of air flow while using such appliances efficiently!
5. It keeps cold air out: When chilly winter months wreck havoc on an unprepared home—shifting temperatures drastically between day and night—closing off any possibile draft points during off times by shutting down fireplaces helps creates more comfortable temperatures indoors which are sure to be enjoyed by anyone who enters!